‘Firebreak’ lockdown ‘not considered at this point’ insists Sajid Javid – but fears cases will rise as schools return


SAJID Javid has moved to hose down fears a “firebreak” lockdown will be needed this October half-term to crush any new Covid wave.

The health secretary insisted he “hasn’t even thought about” bringing back restrictions but didn’t rule out doing so entirely.

Sajid Javid said he hasn’t even thought about a firebreak lockdown next month

He was responding to claims from a Sage scientist that the Government is already bracing to reintroduce curbs next month.

Boffins fear the return of schools this week could quickly drive a new surge in Covid cases among unvaccinated kids.

There are concerns the NHS may struggle to spike with another spike at the same time as clearing the backlog from previous lockdowns.

Experts also worry a sustained winter wave combined with the annual flu season will create a Christmas nightmare for the health service.

There have been reports ministers are considering extending the October half-term by a week to slow the spread among kids.

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During such a “firebreak” fortnight some restrictions like mask wearing and social distancing could also be brought back.

But asked about the idea today, Mr Javid said the success of the vaccine rollout should mean it isn’t necessary.

He insisted: “I don’t think that’s something we need to consider. I haven’t even thought about that as an option at this point.

“I think the decisions we’ve made in the last few weeks have turned out to be the right decisions.”

He said no decisions are “risk-free” but insisted the “best defence” against another wave of the virus is getting people jabbed .

‘Vaccine wall’

He added: “Vaccines are working. Yes, there are still infections, of course there still are. That’s true around the world.

“But the number of people going into hospital, and certainly those dying, is mercifully low, and that’s because of the vaccines.”

Yesterday his deputy, the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, also refused to rule out the prospect of a new mini-lockdown.

A Government spokesman said “it is not true” to suggest the PM is actively “planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term”.

No 10 will have to closely monitor the effect on Covid cases of this week’s return to the classroom for millions of kids.

They will have three weeks to keep an eye on new infections before having to make any decision on whether to bring back restrictions.

There have also been concerns the protection afforded by the jabs could be starting to wear off among the elderly who first received them.

No 10 has been privately frustrated by the delay to approving both booster shots and vaccinations for 12-15 year olds.